When did women start feeling like they had to be a mean girl or a bitch in order to get respect, in order to feel fierce? No doubt I’ve worked with and have encountered many successful beeyotches in my time, but the overwhelming majority of fierce sisters I know are generous, relatable, secure, approachable, and genuinely nice. Yeah, these women have their doubts, but they choose to dip their spirit in a pool of confidence. They are brave, bold and badass without having to demean and diss other men and women.
When I went to Cuba this summer I met the gulliest sisters this side of the planet. Some were younger than me, most older. Many of them ran their own paladares and botanicas, they were spiritual leaders, lawyers, secretaries and salsa dancers. The women in Havana smoked cigars, talked shit about the World Cup competitions, men and Castro. They were all tough, ambitious, savvy, outspoken and direct, yet I never heard them slamming each other or disparaging another woman’s hustle.
So how is it that the women in my hood and even in my former church and some of my associates lose the lesson on what it really means to be fierce and badass? Somehow many sistren have gotten it twisted and feel they have to be stank to come off as powerful and confident. I realize movies and television have certainly hyped the allure of the mean girl especially when it comes to Black women. Dominique Deveraux (Dynasty) and Jacqueline (Boomerang) had the flyest wardrobes, the freshest jobs and the finest men, but even in those fictional worlds these characters always seemed to lose out in the end. Unfortunately that hasn’t really diminished the bitch ideal. I often meet women trying to flex like Dominique especially when in pursuit of a promotion and/or a man. And quite often they get the position only to be later ostracized and they get the man too only to deal with subsequent divorce, which leads to the retaliation of bitter men through silly albeit popular YouTube animated “Black Dating” clips like this that we ALL then have to endure.
And maybe that’s why I love The Game so much because through Tasha Mack’s hardcore bitchy exterior the writers show there’s something more that drives her to be a meany. I respect that Tasha is this complicated, confused woman who succeeds and fails at being a bitch. We need to see this so that we can differentiate being strong from being spiteful and what’s to gain from each of these personas. Cause truth be told, being rude and disrespectful as a way to make yourself feel prestigious is usually a sign that you are in fact insecure and threatened by theHotness of others. Being a beeyotch is easy, being fierce, well ladies, that’s a lil bit more challenging. These three tips are key:
1.) Stop sipping the Steve Harvey Kool-Aid thinking that being a bitch is a major power play because you are behaving more like men. Women birth babies, deal with ish like menstruation and menopause on the regular, are just as wicked in 4-inch heels as we are barefoot and have the keenest most spot-on gift of intuition of any mammal in the world. Many men, aware of the power we naturally possess, are prone to act-up and show-out. So you see mimicking the outlandishly rude behavior of these men because you think it’s a display of power is really showing how small-minded you are!
2.) Know your story and accept it. Regardless of how jacked-up, boring, flawed, amazing or embarrassing it may be, it’s yours. Own it. Love it. Believe me, there is nothing more essential to fierceness than loving your life and who you are.
3.) Tap into your history. Learn about your female ancestors—familial and otherwise. I guarantee knowing the story and struggles of your great grandmother or of Josephine Baker will imbue your life with power, humility and grace—the backbones of fierceness.